>> asking more of students in reading and math and the primary grades and in seniors in high school. students who graduate high school will be college and career ready. >> reporter: success will mean finding solutions outside the classroom. jeffery canada has been combating students in harlem for more than 20 years. >> we have young people growing up in some places in the country that everything is really against them. they have terrible health care, violence, drugs and gangs in their communities. we have to give those kids an education, but we have to make those communities a healthy place. >> reporter: the solution, educators say, requires a system that focuses on the whole child and not just test scores. in new york city, i'm danielle lee, nbc news. to decision 2012. the election is just 43 days away. early voting by mail is under way in two dozen states.